No one likes to experience muscle strains. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can speed up the recovery process and get back on your moves faster!
In this post, we’ll explore some easy steps you can take to minimize your muscle strain while helping you heal quickly. So let’s dive in and learn how to bounce back from strained muscles at lightning speed.
What is a muscle strain?
A muscle strain occurs when muscle tissue is torn or overstretched due to an injury. This type of muscle damage can range from mild to severe, depending on the nature of the muscle tear.
Depending on the severity of the strain, you may need to rest for at least a few weeks in order to allow the muscle to heal properly.
Symptoms of a muscle strain can include:
- Loss of flexibility and range of motion in the affected area
- Difficulty moving the injured area
If left untreated it can reduce mobility and cause permanent damage if not treated properly, so it’s important to seek medical advice if you have sustained a muscle strain.
How to speed up muscle strain recovery
Now that we have an idea of what a muscle strain is, let’s discuss a few ways to speed up the recovery process so you can get back out there. According to Mayoclinic.org, using the “RICE” method is a great way to help with muscle strains.
Rest is one of the most important things you can do when trying to treat an injured muscle. Doing anything to cause the muscle to swell more or worsen, should be avoided. It is good to note that Mayo Clinic does mention not avoiding all physical activity entirely.
For 2-3 hours during the first few days of the injury, take 15 to 20-minute rounds of icing the pulled muscle. You can use an ice bath or even just an ice pack.
Compression can be used to reduce swelling. Using an elastic bandage and wrapping the muscle till the swelling has gone down can be effective.
The bandage shouldn’t be too tight either. If you feel any pain during the wrap, loosen it.
You can use a pillow or blanket to elevate the muscle by raising it above your heart level while you sleep or lay down.
What NOT to do when treating a muscle strain
According to physio-network.com, stretching can potentially “increase further damage.”
Stretching is good for warming up muscles and preventing injury, but if the injury has already happened, then avoid stretching it more.
Don’t use a massage gun
Using a massage gun on an injury can cause much pain. According to ekrinathletics.com, you can even extend the injury and “sideline yourself for longer.”
Just like stretching, a massage gun can be a useful tool to use before and after a workout to prevent injury, but not so much when trying to promote healing.
Don’t use the muscle
As part of the rest section of the RICE method, it’s best to avoid straining the muscle further by trying to use it even more. As much as we don’t want to lose muscle gains, there’s a time and place to rest if needed.
It can be difficult going through a muscle strain or injury. Taking time off from the gym can feel like forever, but it’s important to understand that it’s not the end of your fitness journey.
Taking precautions to help the muscle recovery process is important and shouldn’t be overlooked or avoided. Sufficient sleep, using a few ice packs, an elastic bandage to reduce inflammation, and elevating the affected muscle can all be used to begin the recovery process. So take the time to properly recover so you can get back in the gym to achieve the gains better than ever.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Muscle Strains.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Oct. 2022, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-strains/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20450520.
Wood, Zenia. “Should You Stretch a Muscle Strain?” Physio Network, 10 May 2021, www.physio-network.com/blog/stretch-muscle-strain/.
Ekrin Athletics Staff. “Can You Use a Massage Gun on a Pulled Muscle?” Ekrin Athletics, ekrinathletics.com/pages/can-you-use-a-massage-gun-on-a-pulled-muscle. Accessed 18 Jan. 2023.
This article is to be used for informational purposes only. This content is not to be used as a substitution for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For any injuries please seek a licensed medical advisor or physician.